With about seven minutes remaining in Maryland men’s basketball’s 78-74 loss to Seton Hall on Saturday, Pirates center Romaro Gill gave the Terps a gift.

Guard Darryl Morsell drove to the rim with the shot clock at two, and by the time he met Gill under the basket, he had just a fraction of a second left to get the shot off. Had Gill jumped straight up, the 7-foot-2 junior almost certainly would’ve prevented Morsell’s last-ditch effort.

Instead, Gill hacked down and caught Morsell on the arm, and after a video review confirmed the contact came before the shot clock hit zero, Morsell went to the line with the chance to extend Maryland’s lead to two possessions. But he missed both shots, failing to take advantage of the opportunity Gill had provided.

While those misses were two of the most crucial during the close defeat, Morsell was far from the only Terp to struggle with free throws Saturday. Maryland went 12-for-20 from the foul line, while Seton Hall shot 18-for-21, and both teams’ performances down the stretch helped seal the result.

“Points off turnovers and at the free throw line,” coach Mark Turgeon said, “really is the difference in the game.”

[Read more: Maryland men’s basketball drops back-and-forth battle with Seton Hall, 78-74]

Jalen Smith split two free throws with about five minutes left and the Terps down by one, preventing his side from taking the lead. He missed the front end of a one-and-one a couple of possessions later. The next time down the floor, Pirates guard Myles Powell drew a foul from Morsell to go to the line for a one-and-one, and made both.

Powell was a perfect 8-for-8 on foul shots Saturday, hardly a surprise considering he entered the game hitting at an 85 percent clip. His teammate, Myles Cale, though, had the best game of his career, and it extended to his free throws.

Cale entered the game averaging 8.5 points but scored a career-high 23, and after making 62 percent of his free throws in the first 11 games this year, he also went 8-for-8 against the Terps.

“They had a [62] percent foul shooter that made all his free throws,” Turgeon said. “In the end, sometimes it just comes down to things as simple as that.”

[Read more: Maryland basketball’s Jalen Smith earns second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor]

Cale’s performance was an anomaly, but Turgeon has bemoaned his team’s mediocre foul shooting all year. The disappointing loss was the third time this season the Terps have hit 60 percent or fewer of their foul shots, the worst being a 7-for-13 mark against Hofstra.

The Terps now rank seventh in the Big Ten with a 70.6 free throw percentage, after leading the conference with a 75.5 percent clip last year.

“Guys just gotta get in the gym and make free throws — simple as that,” guard Eric Ayala said. “Just going to the line, be confident, knock them down. I missed two that I could’ve made, that I’m easily capable of making.”

Each of Maryland’s three returning contributors are shooting worse from the line this year than last season. Morsell has seen the biggest dropoff, from 72.7 to 50 percent, but forward Bruno Fernando and guard Anthony Cowan haven’t been as accurate, either. And the loss of Kevin Huerter’s 75.8 percent clip hasn’t helped.

Turgeon maintains that the Terps are a strong shooting team, even as the sample sizes increase and the shooting percentages don’t. So, while the eighth-year head coach’s explanations — ”They made free throws, we didn’t. They made open shots, we didn’t.” — after losses like Saturday’s are valid, the team knows that only works for so long.

“We’re still going to have a lot of games where it comes down to the end, where we have to make free throws,” Fernando said. “That’s really what we’ve got to focus on and do on our own.”